A computational study of austenite formation kinetics in rapidly heated steels
AuthorKatsamas, A. I.
Surface hardening of steels involves rapid austenitization and subsequent quenching of the surface. The resulting extent of hardening largely depends on the rate of austenitization of the surface under the applied high heating rates. In the present work the kinetics of austenite formation in Fe-C alloys during rapid, non-isothermal heating conditions, characterized by high heating rates and short austenitization periods, were studied by means of computational simulation. Austenitization of lamellar pearlite/proeutectoid ferrite microstructures was simulated by assuming two kinetically distinct stages: i) dissolution of lamellar pearlite followed by ii) dissolution of proeutectoid ferrite. The two stages were simulated by two corresponding I-D diffusion models employed in series. Numerical solution of the resultant moving-boundary diffusion problems provide calculated results regarding the dependency of vol. fraction austenite on thermal cycle parameters and on initial microstructural features of the steel. Analysis of calculated results showed that the vol. fraction of pearlite transforming to austenite during pearlite dissolution depended on maximum temperature, dwell time and pearlite interlamellar spacing. A functional relationship between these variables, consisting of a thermodynamic and a kinetic term, was established. On the other hand, the total vol. fraction of austenite forming in the steel, after both stages of austenitization, was found to follow a typical sigmoidal kinetic behaviour. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.